#WORLD, February 24, 2020 — The bad news is Coronavirus or CoVid-19 has spread to 36 countries with significant spikes in cases recorded in Italy and South Korea.
Twelve towns in Italy are on lock down; over 200 cases are confirmed and seven elderly people have died say media reports.
Samsung factory in South Korea is reeling following an outbreak, Fortune reports. Samsung was to reopen the factory today following a weekend lock-down and scour of the facility in Gumi. Shares fell more than three percent due to fears.
Nineteen people have died in South Korea, some 11,600 are being monitored and cases have soared past 800.
The good news, CoVid-19 has not yet being labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, WHO but independent health experts say its pretty (dern) close.
WHO says as long as most cases can be traced back to China, their reluctance to declare a “pandemic” is justified.
Turks and Caicos remains Coronavirus free; the Caribbean region remains clear as well even though several of our countries have quarantined travellers with recent ties or trips to the CoVid-19 hot spot of China.
Deaths worldwide are recorded at 2,593 people.
The best news is that 24,847 people have “recovered” from Coronavirus.
Study reveals Online Sexual Exploitation of Children rose in Pandemic; Philippines among the worst
By Dana Malcolm
A recent study from UNICEF and investigation by the BBC have revealed horrific levels of child abuse in the Philippines fueled by pandemic lockdowns and increasing poverty. The study revealed that country has become a den for Online sexual exploitation and abuse of children (OSEAC) in which adults sometimes even parents force children to perform sexual acts on camera for paying pedophiles on the internet.
A key finding of the study was that certain cultural beliefs contribute to the spread of OSAEC such as ‘if the children are untouched, they are not harmed’ and ‘OSAEC provides easy money and almost everyone does it.’
The BBC’s Laura Bicker visited Preda, an orphanage in the country that specifically helps abused children. Located in the orphanage is a dark padded room outfitted with an on hand therapist. Bicker described what she saw and heard.
“Some of the toughest healing at Preda happens inside a dark room with soft music playing in the background. There are large pads on the walls and floors – the kind gymnasts would use for a soft landing. The only light comes from the open door. About five children are kneeling, each in their own space. Most of them are facing the wall. The overwhelming sound is the erratic thud of their fists and feet as they pummel the pads. The first raw, anguished cries make your heart stop. And then it starts again, but it’s difficult to keep listening, even from a distance, even for a few minutes. The questions hurled at the cushioned walls – “Why did you do this to me? Why me? What did I do?”
The situation is becoming increasingly dire.
Only around 20 per cent of Filipino children are listed by UNICEF as not vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and the pandemic has made it worse. UNICEF says a good grasp of the English Language, availability and ease of access to technology, well-established financial transaction facilities, and ‘absence of perceived conflict between sexual exploitation and significant social norms are some of the reasons the gruesome industry is allowed to thrive and expand.
While instances of online abuse may not be as prevalent in the Caribbean instances of sexual abuse are still high. A recent study revealed that nearly 15 per cent of children aged 11–12 years and, 35 per cent of young people, 14–15 years old reported having had sexual experiences. Since the onset of the pandemic in 2019 those numbers have spiked.
In Jamaica alone pediatricians said cases abuse rose 70 per cent during the pandemic but cases reported to the police dropped significantly indicating extreme underreporting.
Sexual crimes are some of the most underreported crimes in the world for various reasons including fear, coercion and shame. Protection of children from sexual abuse in all its forms must then become a community effort with adults taking on the responsibility of investigating and speaking up on behalf of children who may not be able to do so on their own.
Hurricane Season 2022 ends today; 337 died + Damages at $54 Billion
By Dana Malcolm
November 30, 2022 – What was predicted to be an extremely active hurricane season ends today Wednesday November 30, thankfully, falling a little short of 2022 predictions. Less storms, less major storms still 337 were killed and damages hit over $54 billion.
The season started slowly when compared to recent years. In fact, 2022 was the first hurricane season in eight years where a storm did not develop before June 1st. Nonetheless by June 5 the first storm was in and it was named: Alex which was one of the few storms to survive crossing land moving into the Atlantic from the Eastern Pacific basin.
Alex was the first of fourteen storms. Bonnie and Colin arrived in July without much damage and the season was quiet for another month.
Then came September, which spat out Hurricanes Danielle; Earl; Fiona; Tropical Storm Gaston; Hurricane Ian; and Tropical Storm Hermine in quick succession.
Hurricane Fiona which reached Category 4 strength became the first major storm of the season on October September 20th passing by the Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos with severe flooding in the two Latino Caribbean countries and violent winds in TCI, a small British overseas territory which it hit as a Category 1 storm.
Bermuda would also feel the wrath of Hurricane Fiona which continued north, into Canada where at Cat4 strength it become that country’s strongest, devastating infrastructure in places like Prince Edward Island. The death toll in Fiona: 31 people.
Only seven days later Hurricane Ian, which at its strongest was a Category 4, barreled towards Florida and the Carolinas going past Jamaica and directly over Cuba in the process, with destructive results.
Almost 150 people were killed according to US media.
Large swaths of Florida were torn apart and thousands left homeless. A 12 foot storm surge meant many people in single story homes had to leave them behind lest they drown in the water filling them.
In October Category 1 Hurricane Julia and Tropical Storm Karl formed. Skirting the Central American countries, Julia still drenched Venezuela, Guatemala and El Salvador – reports of severe flash floods led to at least 91 people died.
Hurricanes Lisa, Martin, and Nicole formed in November.
Nicole was a surprising late season Category 1 hurricane which brought extreme flooding to the Dominican Republic and Northwestern Bahamas affecting areas still recovering from hurricane Dorian. It went on to further damage areas of Florida which had only weeks before been slightly affected by Hurricane Ian. Nicole brought a direct and damaging hit. At least 11 people were killed.
According to official assessments, the University of Arizona turned out to be the most accurate predictor of the season claiming back in April that there would be fourteen named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
BP International Limited Selected to Market Guyana’s Share Of Crude
By Sherrica Thompson
#Guyana, November 30, 2022 – The Government of Guyana has announced that UK’s largest energy company, BP International Limited, has been selected out of fourteen (14) bids to market the country’s share of crude oil produced over the next year from the Liza Destiny and Liza Unity offshore platforms.
BP International succeeds Aramco, which had marketed the country’s share for the past year.
With 11 billion barrels found to date, Guyana is said to be home to one of the largest oil discoveries over the last decade.
As the new marketer, BP International is expected to “provide support and guidance to the Guyanese Government in all operating and back-office responsibilities of managing the crude sales.”
In addition, the UK company will also “support the government in the continued introduction of the grade to multiply geographies and refinery systems, and provide benchmark and performance comparisons of prices paid for Guyana’s crude.”
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